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Smart Phone App Helps Secure Rooms For Domestic Violence Survivors

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NORTH TEXAS (CBSDFW.COM) - It's an overcrowding problem that could put lives in danger. Almost every domestic violence shelter in North Texas is at capacity.

But a Frisco woman is among a handful of people helping the situation buy using the Safe Night app.

On Wednesday night, there were 13 battered women in Collin, Dallas and Denton counties that shelters were trying to find emergency hotel rooms for. The people paying for those rooms used the app to do so.

"I get an alert that said there was a need for tonight, two maybe three nights," says Beth Sarey, a Frisco resident who donates regularly. "Just the idea of a woman being out there without a safe place to go just breaks your heart."

Sarey has used the Safe Night app for sometime to donate money for hotel rooms. Funds are used by shelters without extra space to house abuse victims such as Dolores Higuera and her two children in Denton.

"I tried to escape many times," says Higuera.

CBS 11 first reported about the Safe Night app last year. Sarey signed up after seeing the story and along with others has helped 114 women tin 2015.

"This last weekend there were absolutely no shelter beds and many women calling asking for space to go. There was no place to go... Safe Night really made a difference," says Susan Hoff, United Way of Metropolitan Dallas.

Higuera says she knows firsthand how important it is for an abused wife like herself to have a hiding place the moment she decides to flee. "It's very scary for the money for the food," she says, "When I was asleep in that bed it was the best night of my life."

That gives donors like Beth Sarey comfort.

She's driven to help women trapped in dangerous relationships because she was once in one herself.

"I had a relationship in high school that was headed in that direction."

(©2015 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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